For me, St James’s Hotel and Club is the ultimate hidden gem. Located down Park Place, minutes away from Green Park station and yet completely secluded, it is the perfect city retreat. Lavishly decorated and with luxurious amenities, there is everything you need to relax – however what I find particularly alluring about this boutique property is the undeniably magnificent art collection and the spectacular Michelin starred restaurant, Seven Park Place by William Drabble.
When I went along to the restaurant on a Tuesday lunchtime I was greeted warmly by staff and taken through to the cosy dining room. With only 26 covers, the restaurant is naturally very intimate… couples sat huddled and business meetings were progressing over pretty plates of food, it is a restaurant for every occasion. William Drabble’s menu is precise and brief, which I was thankful for, a selection of French inspired dishes, all using the best seasonal British produce on offer.
There is a lunch menu available (£25.50 for two courses, £29.50 for three) or a longer a la carte which features more elaborate dishes. Interestingly I noticed a lack of vegetarian options, every dish contains either fish or meat… apparently the kitchen can whip up a veggie recipe if you specifically require it. We chose the Fillet of red mullet with garlic puree, red wine reduction, croustade of goat cheese, confit tomato and basil and the Pot roast quail with crispy veal sweetbreads, foie gras, orange and hazelnut dressing. The red mullet was absolutely exquisite, a carefully prepared piece of the freshest fish with a delicate array of flavours. The warm quail was perfectly cooked and paired with a tangy cold salad and a rich slice of foie gras… it was an unusual mix of exotic and traditional flavours. To accompany our starters the sommelier kindly picked out two superior white wines, listening to our preferences and bringing immaculate choices to complement the food we had ordered.
Keen to try the favourites, I opted for Drabble’s speciality for my main course, Assiette of Lune Valley lamb with broad beans and basil. It was a triumph, one of the best dishes I’ve ever tried… and I couldn’t resist licking my cutlery for every last drop of sauce. The three cuts of lamb are cooked in different ways, each mouthful was better than the last… crispy, caramelised skin on tender and juicy meat. The plump broad beans, basil and creamed potato added a contrasting freshness to the recipe. Honey glazed pigeon royal with sweetcorn and Madeira jus was spectacular too, rich red meat enhanced by the rich wine gravy. The sweetcorn was a strange but successful addition to the dish, and added a bit of satisfying crunch.
Before dessert we were treated to a palate cleanser: red fruits with sorbet and meringue, a refreshing and vibrant mini course. For real puddings we went with our waiter’s recommendations… Peach with lemon verbena, white chocolate and yoghurt cream, roast hazelnuts and lemon sorbet and the Black cherry mousse with marinated cherries and dark chocolate. They could not have been more different: the peaches felt healthy and I was appreciative of a light and invigorating dessert. The chocolate and cherry combination worked brilliantly, a surprising airy sponge with a fabulously thick chocolate mousse.
It was interesting to overhear nearby tables praising the flawless food and impeccable service. I smiled to myself in total agreement, Seven Park Place is a very special restaurant and William Drabble’s culinary creations are quite spectacular.
More information and book here: www.stjameshotelandclub.com